Drought Monitor: West Still Dry and Unusually Warm

    Consistent with what has been all too common over the west, temperatures were again well above normal for the week. The greatest departures from normal were over Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada, where temperatures were 9-12 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for the week. Most other areas were 3-6 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.

    Arizona and New Mexico picked up some good precipitation, but this did little for snow accumulation in the upper elevations as there was more rain than snow. California remained dry as well as much of Washington and Oregon.

    The consistent issue in the west this current water year is the lack of snowfall, even in the highest elevations. The majority of the precipitation has fallen as rain, which has impacted many groups who count on snow for their livelihoods. Many valley locations are showing adequate rain this winter, but the same cannot be said for the upper elevations and their snow totals.

    This has made depicting drought quite difficult, as the runoff associated with the upper elevation snowpack is vital. With the precipitation in the region this week, improvements were made to southwest Arizona, southern Nevada, and southern California, where the impact of the summer monsoon along with the current precipitation has allowed for improvements.

    Areas of southwest New Mexico also were improved as the short-term precipitation has allowed conditions to start improving in the long term as well. D0 was expanded in Colorado this week to include more of the central portion of the state.

    Full report.

    A Department of the Interior News Release has announced $50 million funding for Western drought relief. The release can be viewed here.

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